Post-doctoral Fellowships in the Humanities 2018, Germany


September 11, 2018


Opportunity Cover Image - Post-doctoral Fellowships in the Humanities 2018, Germany

Post-doctoral Fellowships in the Humanities 


These postdoctoral fellowships in the Humanities are jointly offered by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Volkswagen Foundation. They aim at enabling postdoctoral researchers currently based at academic institutions in the U.S. to spend some time conducting studies at universities or research institutes in Germany. These studies can either be undertaken at a university or research institute of the candidate’s choice or at a cooperating institute (listed below). The fellowships are usually granted for a period of 9 to up to 12 months. In exceptional cases, a funding period of 18 months is also possible. Through these fellowships, junior scholars are offered a chance to 

  • pursue research in the Humanities in an international environment,
  • take advantage of interdisciplinary scholarly discussion and build research networks,
  • use local libraries, archives, and other facilities, and attend international conferences, symposia, etc.,
  • gain experiences in a non-American university system by teaching courses, depending on the opportunities offered by the respective host institution.

Eligibility and Finances

This call addresses promising scholars from the Humanities in their postdoctoral research phase currently based at academic institutions in the U.S. Scholars who work in an interdisciplinary field are especially encouraged to apply, if their project has a clear humanistic focus. To be eligible, applicants should have finished their PhD after October 1st, 2013. As this call addresses postdoctoral candidates, the PhD must be completed by the time of application (i.e. by September 11th, 2018). Please also note that, to be eligible under this scheme, candidates must have been based in the U.S. for at least two years directly prior to the application.

The grants will be awarded for the academic year 2019/2020. In general, the starting month for a fellowship is August or September. Alternative starting dates may be arranged upon consultation with the host institution after a grant has been awarded. Grants cover a postdoctoral stipend (2,100 Euros per month) plus international health insurance, visa, travel expenses (two return flights U.S.-Germany-U.S.), conference participation (preferably) in Europe, and a rent subsidy (1,000 Euros per month). Fellows can also apply for funds to cover small technical equipment (limited to up to 5% of the total budget), consumables (research and work-related), literature, etc. Please note that non-personnel expenditure can add up to 10,000 Euros for a period of three months (i.e. up to 40,000 EUR for a fellowship of 12 months). In addition, the Foundations provide a maximum of 3,000 Euros for administrative costs for the host institution as well as a total sum of 10,000 Euros for a workshop to be organized by the fellow. These workshop funds cannot be used to cover honoraria for invited guests. Please also note that the fellowships do not cover employment of any support staff (e.g. research assistants). Please indicate in your application whether you intend to travel with family and would like to apply for an allowance for child care and other family-related costs, according to the information on family related benefits provided by the Volkswagen Foundation (see “additional information”, p. 8). Any such items must be included in the proposed budget. If you apply for any such subsidies, the total 2 sum of the fellowship increases accordingly. Grants will be made to the German institution that hosts the respective candidate.

Choosing a Host Institution

As noted, candidates can either choose a host institution independently or select one of the cooperating institutes listed below. Candidates who apply for a fellowship at an institution not listed below have to provide a letter from this institution confirming its support of the application and its willingness to host the fellow (see “additional information”, p. 8). Please note that choosing an institution different from those cooperating with the Foundations has no effect on the prospects for success. The following institutions are willing to host postdoctoral fellows as part of this scheme. If one of these institutes is chosen, there is no need to provide a separate letter of support by the institute.

  • Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS)
  • Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Göttingen Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences 
  • Konstanz University, Center of Excellence/Institute for Advanced Study and Zukunftskolleg 
  • Freie Universität Berlin, Dahlem Humanities Center 
  • Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) 
  • German Archaeological Institute (DAI) 
  • Staatliche Museen zu Berlin 
  • German National Library 
  • Herzog August Bibliothek 
  • German Literature Archive 
  • Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG)
  • Leopoldina Centre for Science Studies 
  • Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS) 

Application and Selection Procedure

The deadline for applications is September 11th, 2018. Applications must be written in English and submitted to the Volkswagen Foundation electronically via the online application system (see “additional information”, p. 8). Please note that financial commitments entered into prior to receipt of a grant letter cannot be covered. The Volkswagen Foundation can award grants to academic institutions only. For applications to institutions other than universities and well-known publicly-maintained research institutions, please provide details on the legal status, statutes, trustees and boards, charitable/non-profit status, and budgeting and auditing of the institution to be funded. Please also include an annual report of the institution.

The selection of candidates is jointly organized by the Volkswagen Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in a two-stage procedure. In the first step, all proposals submitted to the Volkswagen Foundation are reviewed and assessed by international experts to generate a shortlist of candidates, who are then invited to present their proposed project at a review panel meeting in New York. This forms the second step of the selection process and the basis for the final decisions on the applications. The personal presentations of shortlisted candidates are scheduled for March 2019.

Application Checklist

Please make sure that your application includes the following documents:

  • Uploaded signature sheet (generated as part of the online application),
  • Cover letter (max. 1 page), clearly indicating the proposed host institution,
  • Summary of the research project (2,100 characters including spaces),
  • Research proposal (limited to 10 pages; arial, 12, 1.5 spaced, max. 17,000 characters excluding spaces), which includes the following:
  1.  description of the research topic (incl. theory, methodology, methods, etc…), 
  2. list of referenced literature,  relation to previous research,
  3. importance for intended career,
  4. expectations with respect to the stay at the proposed host institution and benefits of the stay,
  5. a preliminary workshop topic/description,
  6. a topic for a course to be offered to undergraduate/graduate students, including a preliminary course syllabus, if applying to an institution where teaching is possible

Budget (in Euros) as follows:

  • personnel expenditure (stipend of 2,100 Euros per month),
  • travel expenses for two return flights U.S.-Germany-U.S., conference participation in Europe, international health insurance (based on the information provided by the DAAD “tariff 790/D”), rent subsidy (1,000 Euros per month), visa,
  • workshop funds (10,000 Euros),
  • recurring non-personnel expenses (administrative expenses for the host institution of 3,000 Euros; e.g. consumables),
  • non-recurrent expenses (e.g. literature, small technical equipment (limited to up to 5% of the total budget)),
  • if applicable, allowance for child care and other benefits according to the information on family-related benefits.
  • Budget justification (a brief explanation of the budget, max. 1 page),
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of publications (max. 4 pages),
  • Copy of the PhD certificate,
  • One short publication of interest (article-length),
  • Letter of confirmation that leave of absence will be granted by the home university/institution in the U.S. (see “additional information”, p. 8), if applicable,
  • Letter of confirmation to support the candidate’s application by the potential host institution (only applicable if not listed as a partner institute, see “additional information”, p. 8).

For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.

Eligible Countries
Host Country
Study Levels
Publish Date
April 18, 2018
Link To Original